4 Important Factors to Consider When Selecting a Source Code Analyser


The software and programming industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two decades. This is mostly due to numerous breakthroughs in the world of programming. However, one thing that remains the same is the importance of source codes. Source codes dictate how a program functions and any flaws in the source codes can have a devastating effect on the functioning of the program. Unlike the initial days of programming, manual code review is no longer the preferred option. The latest programs contain millions of lines of source code and every software company would rather have the code analysis process carried out by an automated system. Here are the 4 important factors to consider when selecting an automated source code analyser.

License cost

In the end, it always comes down to money; how much is a company willing to spend in order to purchase a source code analysis tool. Therefore, it is only fair that it should be the first criteria under consideration. Source code analysers are available in wide range of prices, with various licensing agreements. Usually, dynamic code analysers tend to be the highest priced. And even then, chances are that you do not own the end license agreement for that tool. Many source code analysers are purchased with consulting licenses and charge line of code that the program has to check.

Language support

With companies paying top dollar to secure licensing for the finest code analysis tools, it would be a real shame to find out that the tool does not support a particular language, especially the language in which the company writes its source codes. The best source code analysers support a number of languages and are an excellent long term investment. However, they must first be able to support the default language that your company prefers.

Errors and vulnerabilities that can be detected

Although a source code analyser will scan every line of code in the program, it is no guarantee that it will be able to detect every error, flaw and vulnerability in the source code. At the lower end of the price range, source code analysers are very limited in terms of errors that can be detected. On the other end, expensive licensing agreements can provide you with a source code analyser that can find even the tiniest flaw in a millions of lines of source code.

IDE integration

One factor that often influences decisions, over which source code analyser to purchase is if it can be integrated into the developer’s IDE. Although not a very important factor, it does help to know for the long-term if the source code analyser can be integrated.

Choosing the right source code analyser is crucial to ensure that the company gets the most out of their money. While it has been used for a long time, manual code analysis is just not feasible anymore. Of course, neither is rushing into a decision to purchase a source code analyser without doing the proper amount of research.

About the author: Guest post written by Tom Rhoddings who helps provide tips on source code analysis through his posts.